I learn by doing, in art and in life. I need to get my hands dirty if I am to learn anything about living my life. This is not always convenient. In art “doing” is necessary. To experience meaningful relationships “doing” can sometimes get chaotic with shades of conflict.
This mixed-media, art-journaling craze has me stumped. I don’t know what it is and why I should spend time doing any of it. I can’t seem to define it as it relates to me. It needs to makes sense to me before I jump in to yet another form of self-expression. I need to be sure it is something I will commit to, once I begin. I am beginning to wonder if it is trendy just to sell product. I enjoy new products (you will find me hunting down new product in every aisle in the grocery store). I have been following blogs and watching videos and I have to admit I haven't embraced it all the way. This does not mean that I won’t. It just doesn’t have meaning in my life right now. I think part of it is connected to fear because I have to use paint, paint brushes, water and so many other materials I am not comfortable using.
It must be the same every time you venture into a new medium or craft. I can rhyme off all that I know about photo archiving/scrapbooking, but when it comes to mixed media and paint and more stuff to buy I want to throw my hands up in the air and say - “What, I need to buy more stuff?” And then it hits me! What do I have on hand right now that can cross over into beginning in mixed-media? Personally, I have witnessed trends changing just for the sake of increasing consumer purchasing of something similar to what I already own. As with my possessions, after purging and clearing clutter, I noticed how often I purchase similar items repeatedly. When shopping I used to purchase similar items without paying attention to money wasted with repeat purchases. The same can happen with craft/art supplies. Money, time, and negative emotions can cause me far too much effort and grief to return what I really don't need!
I have learned over time to create more with less. I don’t need to continually purchase the latest and the trendiest in order to allow my inner artist to begin with new medium.
One of the things I worry about most in this world is what passes through my hands to become waste. Waste of any kind worries me to a point that I began years ago to collect and wash much of the consumer waste in packaging to incorporate it in art. I don’t have much faith in how things are supposedly recycled and if they stay out of landfills. Maybe it is all just a scheme to make me think I am doing my part. Creating art out of consumer packaging is not honourable. To me it is a necessity in responsibility as an artist. I need to watch my footprint both in art and in life.
It has taken me years and years to understand the difference between gesso and matte mediums. Since I am a visual learner, with both products white and interchangeable (in some cases) I remained apprehensive and guarded on how and when to use them. (Not using something I own is waste too!) I purchased them but instead of using them I let them sit in the corner, staring me down and waiting their turn. What I realized is that I had to get my hands dirty to figure it out for myself. I have heard countless people explain it and I have read definitions until I confuse myself more and put off doing anything in mixed-media because I am uncertain of how to begin.
Here I decided to just give mixed-media a whirl and I’m not even sure if these pieces would be categorized as mixed-media but hey, they are my interpretation.
When I was creating them it struck me - why would I need to art-journal before making these canvases? It would be such a waste of my time and I would not have created these canvases at all.
Like I said, I learn by doing. When I am finally ready - I just jump in and get dirty!
What I learned while creating these canvases...
All my saved pieces of tape (washi, packing scraps, electrical, consumer food tapes) have finally found their purpose. No need to use new pieces of tape when I have saved all of these. I used tape to build texturized surface as my start.
Matte medium can be used to seal (finish) my work or I can use it as glue to adhere tape that just won’t lay down! The great thing about it when you use it as a glue if the object you are gluing is transparent then you won't see any glue behind it. Most mediums are translucent, when dry. (This is where I was confused for years because both gesso and matte medium are white and liquid. I spent so much time in my head wondering when, how and why I would need to use them - so I didn't.)
Gesso can be used as a primer prior to paint or as a way to build up texture and as a mock glue to sink found pieces into the canvas ("glued" so to speak but the gesso will remain permanently white). When dry, they are permanently affixed to canvas. At this point in this usage gesso has dual purpose, as adhesion for large pieces or groupings of found objects, but also as an aesthetic leaving behind white, built up texture!
I also learned a bit about mixing paint and colours to achieve what was in my head.
I started these canvases just by thinking about colour - black, grey, blue and white. I found it amazing that colour scheme was my inspiration.
By changing my perspective while creating them I noticed each canvas can be hung with any orientation and in whatever direction is pleasing or tells the story that needs telling. They are “repositionable art”.